What is a dental emergency?
Maybe you have experienced a sudden change to your smile, but it’s not bad enough to warrant a visit to the emergency room. (In case of a life-threatening emergency, you should always dial 911.) Still, it may be bad enough that you may not want to go to work or be seen in public until it’s fixed. We can help.
Common dental emergencies include:
- Sudden loss of a tooth. Maybe you knocked out your tooth falling off a ladder, or ongoing dental issues caused your tooth to fall out. Perhaps in an accident, several teeth have come out at once. The first thing to do is to put the tooth in place in its socket and keep it there as best you can. If that’s not possible, immediately put your tooth between your gums and cheek or in a sealed container of milk. This helps retain the tooth’s moisture, making it more likely we can restore your smile. Give us a call, and we will get you in at our earliest opening.
- A cracked or broken tooth. Sometimes just biting into food can cause a previously weakened tooth to crack or break. Accidents can cause these sorts of fissures, too. First, put as many pieces of the broken tooth as possible into a sealed container to bring to our office. Rinse your mouth with warm water or with warm salt water if your lips or gums are cut, being sure not to swallow any of it. In the case of a broken tooth, apply a cold compress to the area. This reduces swelling. Then call our office and we will see you as soon as possible to get you fixed up.
- An abscess. If you’re experiencing intense gum or tooth pain, redness near a tooth, sensitivity to hot or cold, or swelling in the face or jaw, you may have a dental abscess. In most cases, we can get you in fairly quickly, so call us. But if you have a fever, are having difficulty breathing, or have challenges swallowing and can’t reach us right away, go to an emergency room.
- Severe toothache. If a tooth or several teeth are aching to the point of interfering with your daily life or work, it’s time to see us. Your toothache may be caused by an irritation or infection in the gums, tooth decay, an abscess, an unseen fracture, a damaged filling, the effects of ongoing tooth grinding or clenching, or a tooth eruption. With pain, you may experience unusual mouth odor, swelling, headache, or fever. It’s okay to rinse with salt water or hydrogen peroxide, being sure not to swallow any of it. You might also apply a cold compress to the area. You can take over-the-counter pain medications as prescribed on the bottle. It’s also time to be seen, so give us a call.
This situation may be disconcerting for you, but it’s routine care for us. Come on in, and we’ll have your smile restored in no time.